After he was taken into FBI custody Tuesday, Ammon Bundy released a statement Wednesday calling for fellow protestors occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Burns, Oregon, to “stand down” and to “go home.”
Bundy, who has acted as the leader of the group since it began occupying the refuge headquarters on Jan. 2, was arrested on charges of “conspiracy to impede federal officials,” along with four other protestors when they were stopped by the FBI and Oregon State Police while traveling on the highway.
LeVoy Finnicum, a spokesperson for the group, was shot and killed during the stop. Ammon Bundy’s brother Ryan Bundy was also wounded. The FBI has yet to say why shots were fired.
In a statement released by his attorney, Mike Arnold, Bundy began by addressing Finnicum’s death, and saying that “his love for this country ran deep through the blood he gave.”
“First I want to address my beloved friend, LeVoy Finnicum. LeVoy is one of the greatest men and greatest patriots I’ve ever seen. His love for this country ran deep through the blood he gave yesterday. And I mourn for him and I mourn for his family. I’m praying fervently for you in every prayer.”
Bundy went on to say that he is asking the federal government to “allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted,” and he urged the protestors to “stand down” and to “go home.” He claimed the protestors who were taken into FBI custody would use the opportunity of “being in the system” to answer constitutional questions regarding the “rights of statehood and the limits on federal property ownership.”
“We’ll have more to say later, but right now I’m asking the federal government to allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted. To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home. Being in the system we’re going to take this opportunity to answer the questions on article 1 section 8 clause 17 of the United States Constitution regarding the rights of statehood and the limits on federal property ownership. Thank you and God bless America.”
During a press conference Wednesday, FBI agent Greg Bretzing said it is “the actions and choices of the armed occupiers that have led us to where we are today.”
“The armed occupiers have been given ample opportunities to leave,” Bretzing said. “Instead these individuals have chosen to threaten and intimidate the America they profess to love, and through their criminal actions to bring these consequences upon themselves.”
Prior to releasing the statement asking protestors to leave the refuge, Ammon Bundy reportedly told his wife Lisa that Finnicum was “cold-blood murdered,” and that he “had his hands in the air and said he was unarmed and they shot him.”